Updated on 09/16/2011 8:09AM

Frankel has both ends covered

On Sunday, Squirtle Squirt makes only his second start since winning the B.C. Sprint (above).

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Not only is Bobby Frankel a very good trainer, he's also a pretty fair handicapper, and that is why he decided to enter Aldebaran along with Squirtle Squirt in Sunday's $250,000 Forego Handicap.

With Squirtle Squirt, the lightning-fast Orientate, and California invader Explicit in the field, Frankel figures the Forego could set up for a horse from off the pace. And Aldebaran has the running style that may make him the one to beat in the 6 1/2-furlong, Grade 1 race.

"They all just may stop, and he might come and get them," said Frankel, referring to Aldebaran, runner-up in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap earlier this year. "Squirtle Squirt will definitely start. I'll see how the racetrack is playing before making a decision on Aldebaran. If it's the kind of track where speed never stops no matter how fast they're going, there's no sense in running him. But if it looks like a horse can close ground, I'll take a shot with him."

Aldebaran was coming off a 10-week layoff when he finished a late-striding second behind Voodoo as the 3-5 favorite in a third-level allowance race on Aug. 3.

Speaking of that race, Frankel said, "He wasn't 100 percent ready conditioning-wise, and the pace was too slow - the leader never stopped."

Squirtle Squirt, the reigning Breeders' Cup Sprint and Eclipse Award champion, has not raced since finishing second in Santa Anita's Palos Verdes Handicap on Jan. 27. That was his only appearance since he outfinished Xtra Heat to win the Breeders' Cup. Squirtle Squirt underwent surgery to remove a chip from his knee following the Palos Verdes.

"He's probably 85 percent fit," Frankel said. "But when a horse is fresh like he is they'll try hard and usually outrun themselves the first time back."

Frankel is making no secrets about his strategy with Squirtle Squirt for the Forego.

"When they open the gate he's got to go. That's the way he runs his best race," Frankel said.

Orientate is the leader of the East Coast sprint division, having won the Aristides, Smile Sprint, and Alfred G. Vanderbilt handicaps this summer.

"I think he's established himself as the top sprinter in the country right now, but you have to keep proving it until they declare the season is over," said D. Wayne Lukas, who trains Orientate for owners Bob and Beverly Lewis.

Orientate has led at every call in each of his four sprint stakes wins this year, but Lukas says he doesn't necessarily have to be in front to win.

"Everyone has decided he's a one-dimension, front-end horse, but I don't think that's the case by any means," said Lukas. "He can run effectively laying off the pace if necessary."

Lukas said he will let jockey Jerry Bailey decide the strategy in the Forego.

"Jerry will do whatever the race dictates," Lukas said. "If he has to lay off the pace that's not a problem, although it takes a pretty quick horse to stay with Orientate."

Explicit, a winner of three of his last four starts, including the Grade 2 True North Handicap at Belmont on June 8, will likely try to stalk Squirtle Squirt and Orientate, according to trainer Ian Jory.

Like Aldebaran, Silky Sweep would benefit from a contentious pace. He has been idle since finishing a fast-closing second to Left Bank in the Bold Ruler Handicap on May 11.

Rounding out the lineup are Saint Verre, Multiple Choice, and Hook and Ladder.

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